The United States is currently in the middle of an opioid epidemic. Last year over 63,000 people lost their lives due to a drug-related overdose. This means more US citizens died due to a fatal drug overdose than did through the entire Vietnam War. Missouri has been greatly affected by opiates, including prescription pills and heroin. The number of overdoses deaths continues to rise every year. New powerful synthetic opioids like fentanyl and carfentanil account for a terrifying amount of these deaths.
According to a report released by the Missouri Department of health, there were a total of 951 opioid deaths throughout the state in 2017. That means 1 out of 65 deaths that occurred in the state that year were due to opiates. Of these overdose deaths, 92.7% were accidental; the other 7.3% were classified as suicide (4.0%), homicide (0.8%), or undetermined intent (2.5%) Experts believe 2018 will surpass 2017 in terms of opiate overdose deaths.
Over the past ten years, Missouri has seen a dramatic spike in opiate-related overdoses. From 2006-2007 there were less than 200 fatal overdoses linked to this dangerous drug class. Opiates were still being used back then, but the purity levels of the heroin being sold were much lower. Fentanyl and carfentanil were pretty much nonexistent at the time. Most active opiate users in 2006 were using prescription medications, like Percocet, Oxycontin, and Hydrocodone.
Back in the early to mid-2000’s Missouri was at the top nationally in methamphetamine lab busts. In 2004 and 2005, authorities in Jefferson County raided labs at a rate of two every three days. Some new agencies called Jefferson County the meth capital of the country. In 2017 there were a total of 91 reported meth labs found in the state of Missouri. These numbers reflect the incidents as reported to EPIC NSS. Ten years prior, in 2007, there were 1,292 meth labs reported by EPIC NSS in Missouri.
Based off these numbers you would assume meth abuse and addiction rates throughout the state would be nearly nonexistent, but this is sadly not the case. Throughout the south meth is still everywhere. Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California the drug is nearly everywhere. It is also still widely used in the midwest. Missouri has seen a huge spike inexpensive methamphetamine is flowing in from the Mexican Cartel.
The drug being shipped across the border is far more potent than what was being made in small homemade meth labs. The average purity levels of the drug, when made in a small meth lab, were around 30-45%. The meth being made in massive meth labs in Mexico is around 80%+ pure. Nationwide, use of this highly addictive, dangerous and widely available illicit stimulant increased from 3% to 4% of the population from 2010 and 2015, according to SAMHSA (Substance Abuse Mental Health Services of America). About 11% of all fatal overdoses in Missouri were linked to crystal meth and other amphetamines.
CBD oil is the only legal form of medical marijuana in the state of Missouri. In 2014 legislation was approved to rewrite some of Missouri’s marijuana laws. They hoped to change it so that the possession of ten grams or less of the drug was punishable by a fine and for the crime to be classified as a misdemeanor. These changes officially took effect on January 1, 2017. The possession of greater quantities of marijuana is still punishable by jail time. Anyone caught with up to 10 grams will be charged with a misdemeanor and face a fine up to $500, but no jail time.
Anyone in possession of more than 10 grams but less than 35 grams will be charged with a Class A misdemeanor. This is punishable by up to 1-year imprisonment and a maximum fine of $2,000. Second-time marijuana possession offenses are also Class A misdemeanor offenses, even if the person being charged possessed is under 10 grams.
Possession of 35 grams- 30 kilograms is a Class D felony. This means the repercussions are far more severe. One can face up to seven years behind bars and a fine up to $10,000. The possession of marijuana paraphernalia is a misdemeanor, carries the same repercussions as having 10 or fewer grams on one’s possession. A second paraphernalia offense is punishable a maximum sentence of one year behind bars and a maximum fine of $2,000.